Zero Pairs: Learning about Additive Inverses

  • Zero Pairs: Learning about Additive Inverses

    Kasandra Dickman and Laura Bofferding
    Throughout elementary school, students learn about positive numbers and how they fit on a number line. The transition to using negative numbers, after only working with numbers greater than zero for several years, can be difficult for students (Murray 1985). The card game described here was used successfully with fifth graders; through the game, students explore the characteristics of numbers less than zero and how to add positive and negative numbers. The game’s design allows for students to notice patterns and build their knowledge of negative numbers. The activity addresses the following goals from NCTM (2000):